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Linda Perret

It Was a Very Good Day [43003]

By Articles

Below is a poem that Dad asked me to read at his funeral. Dad said it summed up perfectly his philosophy of life. I hope you enjoy it…and let’s keep laughing because that’s what Gene would want.


It Was a Very Good Day

Between my rising hour of 8 AM

And my retiring hour of midnight,

I was a model of exemplary behavior.

I ate the proper amount of fruit

And vegetables and protein

And chewed each bite thirty-two times.

I made sure to limit my fat and my starch,

My cholesterol and my carbohydrates,

My salt and my sugar,

Forsaking the white bread

For healthy whole wheat.

I walked and jogged and lifted,

And exercised my lungs.

I did not partake of alcohol,

Or any drugs, legal or illegal.

I inhaled no tobacco smoke,

Neither first nor second hand.

I walked to work.

And en route I gave,

Out of the goodness of my heart,

Contributions of various sizes

To various homeless persons.

At the office, I did an honest day’s work

For an honest day’s pay.

At night, I scorned the mundane

And watched a National Geographic Special

On Public Broadcasting

As I ate low calorie popcorn,

Plain, without butter.

I flossed, brushed my teeth,

Got into bed,

And proudly contemplated my exemplary behavior.

And then it hit me.

The entire day had been rendered meaningless

By one simple omission

Not once, not for one solitary moment,

In the course of the flawless day,

Did I pause and take a moment to laugh.

            — Written by Ed Simmons

Getting Back Into Shape [43104]

By Exercises

Exercising is tough. Once you break from your routine, it’s hard to get back into it. And the longer you wait the harder it gets. Plus, there’s the knowledge that when you do start back up, it’s going to be painful. Unfortunately, the same applies to comedy writing as well.

That’s the predicament many of us find ourselves in right now. We’ve taken some time off, unwilling, but now are seeing a light at the end of the tunnel and realize we need to get back to work. If you had been away from the gym for three months, you wouldn’t just start back up where you left off. Your muscles aren’t ready for that. If you haven’t been writing, your comedy writing muscles aren’t ready, either.

So let’s start slowly and begin warming up.

Day #1 – Pick a topic that you want to write about. It can be a current event or something that you want to add to your routine. Now write a joke on that subject. That’s it, just one.

Day #2 – Continuing with your topic from yesterday, now write 2 jokes.

Day #3 – Did you guess it? Today you are to write 4 jokes.

Day #4 – Yep, today it is 8 jokes…same topic…so you may need to work a little harder. Those comedy muscles may begin aching a bit.

Day #5 – Did you guess 16 jokes for today? If so, you are wrong. Today’s assignment is to take the 15 jokes you wrote and look them over. Are they good? Do you like them? Mark the ones you want to keep and ditch those that don’t thrill you. Rewrite any that you feel merit the extra attention.

Day #6 – Write enough jokes to bring your batch up to 15. If you threw out three, write 3 new ones. If you threw out all 15, you’re going to have a long day. It will be worth the payoff because, you now have a nice bit of material.

Day #7 – We’re going to start again. Pick a new topic if you like or continue on with the one you had. If you feel ready jump back in and write to your daily quota…whatever number that is. If you still feel rusty, do this exercise again.

Keep it going. Writing regularly is vital to good comedy writing.

Vision Boards [43026]

By Exercises

Vision boards were popular when I was in high school. They seemed to disappear but are now making a comeback. I forgot how much I enjoyed making them and how they helped me to focus on a goal or task.

So what is a vision board? It’s a visualization tool that uses pictures and words in a collage form to represent your dreams and goals.

A few years ago, when I was struggling with an issue, a friend suggested I make one. The rules were simple, just collect pictures, words, phrases, and trinkets that drew my attention. Then paste them on a board (mine was just a piece of construction paper) in whatever pattern felt right to me. The end result was a little surprising. When I started, I thought it would be a hodgepodge of pictures and words. That’s what I gravitated towards in life and I assumed it would carry over into my vision board. I ended up with a very structured, organized, simple piece of art. The final piece had my goals at the top and a very defined stairway leading to them. It made me realize that in order to achieve my desires I had to declutter my life and focus on my goals.

The ironic part is that my friend did her own vision board. She is a very tailored, organized person and her board ended up being a scattered mess—kind of what I thought mine would be, to be honest. She had so much crammed on her board that she even had pictures hanging over the edge. It reminded her that she needed to break loose every once in a wild and go nuts.

Neither one of us ended up with what we anticipated. My friend loved her wackadoodle piece of art and I loved my structured, refined end product. In fact, I still have it. When I see it in my office, it reminds me of what I need to do to accomplish my goals.

Whenever I’m facing a new challenge or struggle, I fall back on this exercise. It is easy to do, provides insight into the situation, and can be a permanent reminder for the future.

If you have a goal or project that you are working towards or facing internal turmoil, I recommend doing your own vision board. The great thing about these devices is that there are no rules. There are no requirements. And there is no right or wrong addition to the piece.

The only thing you need to do is decide to do one. Your board can be any size. The one I made in the story above was only 8×11. I have one in progress now that is a full-size poster board. Your vision board doesn’t even have to be physical. You can have one on your computer if that’s more to your liking. Your board can also be fluid. You can use a bulletin board and change it as you deem necessary or as your goals progress.

You decide what is added to your board and what isn’t. Although, I said there are no rules, I would like to add one. Okay, maybe it’s not a rule but a suggestion. Keep your board positive. The idea behind this exercise is to motivate you. It’s not a punishment or a way to degrade yourself. The idea is for the board to inspire you so leave out all the negativity and naysayers.

Your board can consist of all pictures, or all words, or a combination of the two. On the one I have going now, I’ve included trinkets that were given to me. They remind me of the generosity of the person who gave them to me and that’s something I want to hold on to.

The only timetable for completion is one that you put on it. You can keep your board going indefinitely or you can set a firm deadline. The one I have in progress is for a project I’m working on now. It’s an ongoing board and I add to it as new developments occur. I knew this endeavor would be tough and would have its setbacks, so I started the board to remind me of the positives. It lifts my spirits when I need that and is a reminder to get to work because sometimes I need that too.

Vision boards are designed to inspire you. You don’t have to share them with anyone else but can do so if you like. Again, no rules. You also don’t have to keep your boards. I know some people who prefer to destroy them once they have achieved the goal. It’s cathartic for them. Whatever works for you is okay.

If you have a goal or challenge that is eating at you, you may want to try this exercise. Start your own vision board. Keep an open mind and just have fun with it.

Introduce Yourself

By Exercises

We borrowed this exercise from Patricia Fripp. Patricia is an award-winning speaker and speech coach. Recently she posted this challenge:

“How do you introduce yourself? I challenge you to craft a one-sentence description of yourself and your presentation that is difficult to forget.”

Whether you are a stand-up or a writer, we encourage you to tackle this assignment.

It is a great exercise for a number of reasons.

One, at one point or another you are going to be asked to provide a bio of yourself. It can be one of the hardest things to write, so having a prewritten one is a time saver.

Two, it forces you to focus in on what you want to be known as. Often, we wear many hats. We have our day jobs and our dream job. When we are asked to describe ourselves, the answer comes out wishy-washy, confusing, or just downright wrong. “I’m an architect but I also do comedy…oh yeah and I write, too.”   By doing this exercise, you can come up with a crisp, clear intro that describes you and your work. If needed, do one for each of your different jobs. Then you’re ready for each and every situation.

Three, it gives you some control over how you want to be perceived. Leaving your introduction to someone else can be precarious. You never know what they will focus on. Recently a writer was interviewed. The interviewer relied on an article he read to introduce the writer. He honed in on one story and used that to base the introduction. The only problem, it was a story about another writer.

Fourth, it’s a way to set yourself apart. “Put your hands together for our next performer, Joe Shmoo” is an intro we’ve all heard numerous times. It’s not unique, it’s not descriptive, and it is pretty bland. Doing this exercise doesn’t guarantee that you won’t have that kind of intro but it helps to reduce the chances. So be prepared and prewrite your introduction that you can provide as needed.

Fifth, it serves as a reminder of what your comedy goal. A well thought out and descriptive sentence should sum up what you are aiming for in comedy. Use it as a reminder of what you are working towards.

We recommend that you accept this challenge from Patricia and come up with your own solid introduction. Be creative, honest, concise, and of course, have fun with it.


Join us in following Patricia Fripp on Twitter @pfripp.

Don’t Think

By Exercises

Here’s a little exercise that doesn’t take much time or effort but can provide tremendous insight.

So here it is:

Take a piece of paper and a pen…easy, peasy, right? Now without any thought write down three things you would like to write.
That’s it. The trick is to not think about. There are no right or wrong answers. Whatever pops into your head when given that question, put down on paper.

It can be the great American novel. Or a better closing for a bit in your act. Maybe a sitcom or even a biography on one of your favorite performers.

Often we tell ourselves what we should be working on. It may be because of money, or prestige, or just because others tell us we should be doing it. Then we push aside the projects we really want to tackle.

This little exercise helps to push those items back to the front. Seeing the list makes you aware of them. Of course, we still have to make a living but now when you find yourself with a little free time, you can work on these — your true desires.

This is also a good exercise to do when you find yourself burned out or disillusioned with the business. Seeing what you really want to do, may inspire you.

Says Who? [43100]

By Exercises

When it comes to sitcom writing, there are people who believe that the more defined the cast of characters, the easier the writing. I disagree. My feeling is that the stronger, more established the characters are, the harder the writing.

There are shows made up of brilliant, well-defined characters. Everybody Loves Raymond, Frasier, The Dick Van Dyke Show, to name a few. Then there are shows where the different castmates tend to blend together. The quality of these shows is usually not as good. The writing isn’t as strong, the characters are a bit routine, and the overall show is just so-so.

The one thing these lackluster shows have going for them, though, is that they are easier to write. I’ll explain my point. If you are writing a show like Raymond, it’s not enough to just generate a funny line. You have to generate a funny line that fits the character you are writing for at the moment. The line has to be in the right voice. A line that works for Robert, wouldn’t work for Marie, or Frank. If you have a funny response that works brilliantly for Ray, you can’t just assign it to Debra. It needs to be reworked to fit her tone and personality. Your task is not only to write a great line, but to make it fit the character delivering it.

That’s not the case in a show that doesn’t rely on strong characters. You can take a funny line and give it to almost any other person on the show. It doesn’t matter who says it because the audience doesn’t really know each character. So, if one character needs a response you can take a line from another character without making too many changes.

So how do you learn to write for characters. As with most writing, it takes practice. For this exercise let’s use a show that had four very distinct characters: Golden Girls. Blanche, Rose, Dorothy, and Sophia are the cast of characters and characters they were. Each one was different and unique. A line delivered by Sophia wouldn’t work for Rose.

Listed below are a few simple questions. Ones you may hear in your everyday life. Your assignment is to choose one question and provide a response from each one of the four characters – Blanche, Rose, Dorothy, and Sophia.


How was your day?
Did it rain last night?
Can I pick you up anything at the store?
What’s for dinner?
Do these jeans make my butt look big?
Do it again, using a different question. Come up with some of your own. Then go back and do it using characters from a different show.

Have fun with this exercise.

Just One

By Exercises

It will come as no to surprise that here at ROUND TABLE we are very goal oriented. We go in for all the goal features – writing them down, posting notes, having reminders, etc. There is no goal too big or too far-fetched.

Sometimes we get so busy developing our goals that we forget to actually do anything to achieve them. That’s why for this exercise, though we are recommending something different:

Pick One Goal

That’s it. Just one. It can be something you’ve been meaning to try. It can be a brand-new idea or something you’ve been putting off. Or just something that got pushed to a back burner.

Take this one goal and make it your focus. Put it front and center. When you have time, work on it. Give it the dedication and devotion it needs to bring it to a conclusion. Whatever this goal is, give it your priority until it is complete.

Then, pick another and do the same thing. Let’s work our way through 2022 one completed goal at a time.

Last Night I Dreamt

By Exercises

Just for fun, here is a quick little exercise courtesy of Bob Hope’s Vaudeville days. It’s a bit he did and we think we can improve it. Here’s the line:

“I had a terrible night last night. I dreamt all night that I was eating Life Savers. I woke up this morning and my pajama buttons were gone.”


“I dreamt I was eating a marshmallow. When I woke up this morning, my pillow was missing.”

That’s the idea. Try and come up with some additional zingers that fit into this form and can keep this bit going. Have fun with it and get a bit crazy.

Community Theater [43005]

By Articles

I love plays.  I love Broadway plays.  I love high school plays.  I love plays on television.  I like serious plays, but I love funny plays.  Add a couple of songs and I’m one happy camper.

            I find the experience of going to the theater thrilling.  I love losing myself in a story for a few hours.  Yes, you can get that same feeling by going to the movies, but in my opinion plays force you to use your imagination in a way that the movie industry abandoned years ago.  In a movie everything is depicted for you.  You see everything.  In a play, there is usually something left to your imagination because you are limited to the space on and around the stage.

            The other reason I love plays is that they inspire me.  While watching a play I find myself trying to figure out where it is going.  Sometimes I want a play to continue and try to map out what the sequel would be.

I usually go to plays with a friend.  The last time we went to one she asked, “How come before a play you are so talkative and then afterwards you hardly say a word?”  She didn’t wait for my answer, she just said, “I know it’s because you’re rewriting the whole thing, aren’t you?”

She was absolutely correct.  Whether I laugh or cry, I want to change it.  It could be a play by Joe Schmoo, the local playwright, or Neil Simon, who in my opinion is one of the best playwrights ever, but I can make it better.  I get new ideas and I start writing.  

It gets me going.  I come home from a play and write like crazy. 

I want to encourage all of you to start going to some plays.  It’s a great way to get the

creative juices flowing.  Attend some musicals,

comedies, and one person adventures.  You don’t have to attend the high-priced professional shows.  There are usually local theater groups that do a great job.

Here in Los Angeles, I can go see a high-priced professional show, but I also have the option of going to a local theater.  Within 20 miles of my home, we have the Calabasas Players, the Simi Valley Players, and the Conejo Valley Players.  They all put on great shows at reasonable costs; they just weren’t real clever at choosing names.

One advantage to attending Community Theater is that they may perform shows that are not as current or as well know as the big playhouses.  This way you can see plays performed that most likely you wouldn’t have a chance to see anywhere else.  I recently went to a performance of Neil Simon’s Fools, not one of his better-known shows.  It was enjoyable, fun, and got me working.

Another great thing about Community Theater is that they are usually looking for volunteers and this could be a way to get introduced to show business.  Most likely you get to see the productions for free, which is always nice.  As a volunteer you may have the opportunity to watch and learn the ins and outs of a production, not to mention the access to people who may be able to help you in your writing career. 

If you have the opportunity to go to a Broadway production, by all means, go, but don’t overlook the benefits of your nearest Community Theater. 

Working for Free [43011]

By Business

It never fails, if you are in this business – as a performer or writer– you are going to be asked to work for free.  Some people just don’t feel comedy is a profession…or at least not one they should have to pay for.  “You spread laughter, there should be no fee involved in that.”  Of course, lawyers are fighting for justice, shouldn’t that be free?  Doctors are healing the sick and wounded, shouldn’t that be for free?  I guess not.  I worked with one well-known writer who had this response, “The day I can walk into to Vons and walk out with a cart load of groceries free is the day I’ll start working for nothing.”  His point was well made, even comedy writers have to feed their families.

            It always amazes me as soon as someone finds out you are in comedy, they can think of a million jobs they want you to do, but none are for money.  As soon as you mention money, their attitude changes a little bit.

            I recently had someone call me –someone I haven’t talked to in a couple of years.  Her husband had written a book and she wanted me to punch it up a bit and send it out to publishers.  I told her I won’t send it out to publishers because that wasn’t my job, but my fee for punching up the book would be x amount of dollars.  She got mad; “I can’t believe you don’t just want to read it for fun.”  I may have gotten a little cranky when I replied, “No, for fun I’m going to be painting my house.  So, if you guys want to do that for me, then I’ll read the book, just for fun.”   She hung up the phone…and I probably won’t hear from her for another couple of years.

            But it is going to happen.  People will ask and sometimes working for free is not a bad thing.  Yes, that was from the same person who moaned and groaned just a few short sentences ago.  So how do you know when to work for

free and when not to?  Let’s see if we can help with that.

            When opportunity presents itself, do a little research and some soul-searching.  Okay, and be a little selfish.  Ask yourself, what will I get out of this?

Sometimes the answer will simply be a warm feeling.  There are organizations that are near and dear to our hearts and when they ask us for something, even if they are paying, we don’t want the money.  Knowing that we are helping a cause we believe in is enough.

            Some comedians will work a club for free to show off their stuff.  Once the club realizes how good they are, they can start collecting the paycheck.  Another reason is to get the stage time.  There is a coffee house around here that has a comedy night.  No one is paid, but it’s a chance to perform in front of a live audience.

            If you ask yourself, what will I get from this and the answer is nothing, then you might want to pass it up.  With the book story I mentioned earlier, the trade-off wasn’t there.  If he sold the book, he wasn’t going to come back and remember me.  It would have taken a big chunk of my time and to me it wasn’t worth it.  But there are times when you may want to consider writing for free.  For example, you may have a book that you want edited.  So, you agree to trade manuscripts.  Or it may be a comedian who is just starting to get paying gigs.  If you write for him or her now and do a great job, he or she may consider you when they make the big time.  This one is a gamble, and only you can tell if it is one worth taking.

            You also may want to take on the challenge free of charge for the exposure.  Maybe it is for a new group of people you would like to work for.  Or it may be a new form of comedy…like giving a humorous talk, or speech. 

Working for free is one way to test your material and practice this new craft.

Once, you agree to do a gig for free, then what do you do?  The gut reaction is to go in, get it over and done with.  You don’t do anything extra or really put much energy into it.  After all, you’re not getting paid why should they get your best stuff.  They should get your best stuff simply because you should be giving your best every time you step on stage and every time you submit your written work.  If you are working at an event, they aren’t going to introduce you by saying, “Here’s John, hey we’re not paying him so don’t expect much.”  Or give you a written byline that says, “If you liked this article, you should read some of the stuff she actually got paid for.” 

The audience will never know you are working for free.  And why is that important?  Because you don’t know who is in the audience.  On numerous occasions I have heard about people who didn’t want to do a gig or assignment because they weren’t getting paid.  They did the job and were pleased they did because it resulted in many paying gigs.  I also have my own personal experiences to back it up.

When you agree to work for free, try to find a way to avoid the negative feelings that go along with it.  We all have them, but try to push them aside.  Think of ways to make the job work for you.  Ask the person in charge if it will be possible for you to sell books, CDs, T-shirts, or whatever it is you have to offer.  We have given talks to writer’s club where we waive the fee if they will allow us to sell books.  The book sales more than made up for the small amount they were able to offer.

            Even if you don’t have merchandise to sell, don’t despair.  Try and get something else.  Ask if you can distribute your business card or have a special flyer made with how people can contact you.  We once did an event that was

being held at a museum and asked if it would be possible to get tickets to come back and go through the museum.  The answer was yes.

On top of that, ask for a letter of recommendation.  This is especially important if you are venturing into a new field.  This letter can help you land paying jobs in the future.

            It’s also a good idea to space out the number of free jobs you do.  Even if all the reasons for doing it are right, you still have the rent to pay, gas for the car, school for kids, food for the dog, etc. etc. etc.  So consider that when the request is presented.  You certainly don’t want to work for a month for no pay. 

            I also feel I should mention, don’t work repeatedly for free for the same person or group if you aren’t getting anything out of it.  Again, we all have our causes that no matter how often they ask or what they ask, we will do it, and that’s okay.  That’s what makes us good human beings.  But there are people and organizations that will continually “use” you, if you allow them to.  We worked with one professional group that was like that.  They promised us all these great returns that never happened.  According to them, we were the best, they loved us.  Finally, when they called and asked us to do something again, we replied, “Sure, here’s what we normally get paid.”  They never called back.  Apparently, we weren’t the best and they didn’t really love us, we were just cheap. 

            If you do an event, and you leave feeling used, and the paybacks aren’t happening, then don’t go back.  “No, thank you” is a perfectly acceptable phrase.

            So, remember these little steps when you are asked to work for free…and you will be.  Turn it into a positive, find a way to make it productive and profitable for you, and most importantly give it your all.  Remember payoffs are not always immediate.

Freelance-Added Income [43024]

By Business

As freelancers while we chip away at building a career, we sometimes have to think outside the box to generate income. We’re growing but we haven’t reached the level we need to be at. We’re making money but not enough to replace that fulltime job we either left or want to leave.

So, what do you do to bring in some extra bucks? Here are some suggestions. It’s important to note that I’m not recommending or advocating that you do any of these. I’m merely giving you the options to investigate.

Part Time Job: This is an obvious solution and doesn’t require thinking too far out of the box but it’s still an option. A part time job may give you just enough financial freedom to get you over the hump. Of course, the drawback is that you may not have the flexibility you need or want. Also, the hourly rate is probably going to be significantly less than what you are used to. You’ll have to evaluate and determine if the time invested is worth it. Another option that falls under part time work status is seasonal work. Retail stores and consumer service businesses will take on extra help during their peak times. This includes holidays, tax season, and inventory. Take advantage of those times and pocket a little extra money.

Temp Work: Consider registering with a temp agency. There are large national companies as well as small private offices that utilize various skills. The nice part about temp work is that you can pick and choose the jobs you want to do. If you only want to work for a week at a time, you can do that. If you are willing to do a longer tenure at a company, that’s an option. You may not have the flexibility during the workday to set your hours, but you have the freedom to say yes or no to a specific job.

Rent a Room: If you own your home—okay, even if you don’t—you can consider renting out a room. This can be done long-term or short-term. Renting out short-term has gotten a lot easier with the birth of such sites as AirBnb. You can turn your home in to a pseudo hotel and collect a nice piece of change for it.

            You determine how long you want to rent it for, how many people you want in your home, and the frequency that it is available. The websites do most of the work for you and of course they take a fee. Even so depending on where you live and the amenities available you can collect a nice monthly income by renting a room out by the night.

            If short-term is too much work or the idea of having people come and go from your house doesn’t appeal to you, you can rent out a room to a friend or acquaintance for a longer period of time.

            I do have to offer some cautions on this recommendation. One is to be sure to vet the people who will be staying in your unit. You want to make sure that you will get paid and that this person will leave your home in the same condition they found it in. That is one of the advantages to a professional site, they do a lot of the leg work for you.

            If you live in an HOA be sure to check your governing documents like the Rules & Regulations and CC&Rs. Many associations don’t allow rental of a unit for a short duration of time. This will basically exclude you from using sites like AirBnb. Some will require you to notify and pay the association every time you rent the unit. This can get expensive and will eat up a lot of your profits. And many HOAs are making it tougher to rent out your unit long-term. Make sure you follow the rules of your community so that the money you make doesn’t go towards paying fines.

Sell on Ebay: One man’s trash is another man’s treasure is the motto behind this suggestion. You can find almost anything for sale online.

I’ve done this quite a bit and I have to be honest—it used to be much more fun and profitable. I have found that the fees Ebay charges keep increasing and if you aren’t exactly aware you could end up owing money on every item you sell.

            Even so, I know people who have made a very nice career for themselves finding items at local garage sales or other websites and then selling them on Ebay.

            This is especially true if you can find a niche or specialty items to sell. I work with a man who is a cyclist enthusiast. He loves bikes and he knows a lot about them. He began buying bikes and then taking them apart to sell for parts. He is so well-versed in what he does that he was able to grow his Ebay sales and made it his full-time job.

            If this interests you, there are other services other than Ebay. There are places that will purchase items from you or sell them on consignment. Declutter will purchase books and technology items. Thredup will sell your new clothing. There are many other sites. You just have to find them and figure out which one will work best for you.

If you have special skills there are sites like Etsy that will sell your handmade items. This is another avenue that may be able to provide you with an extra income.

Drive Uber/Lyft/Door /Dash: Many comedians have taken advantage of this option. You work when you want to and for as long as you want to. Unfortunately, at this time, this opportunity is changing. It’s unclear how all the changes will unfold. Many of the perks that make this work appealing to freelancers may be disappearing. It is an option, though and worth keeping in mind.

Return Scooters and Shopping Carts: You’ve noticed those random shopping carts just sitting out in the streets? If you own a pickup truck you can make a little extra moola. There are companies that will pay people to return the shopping carts to its rightful store. You do have to be registered with a company to avoid being the one accused of stealing carts. You also have to make sure the carts belong to a store that participates in this se rvice. 

In cities, the scooters for hire are popping up everywhere and so are their scooters. These are the scooters where you pay and take a scooter and then leave it on the street when you’re done. The companies are paying to retrieve them and return them to their stations. Comedians are earning extra bucks after a night at the comedy clubs.

Make Up Your Own Job: If you left your day job, there’s a good chance that your company is missing you. I worked for a management company. When I left, I took my skill to write letters. I spoke with the VP of the company and offered to continue to write letters for them on a freelance basis. They email me the details for the letters, and I take it from there. I promise them a quick turnaround. This provided them with a service that they needed, and it rewarded me with a nice steady income. I also was able to expand and provide this service to a few other companies.

            The point is that this job didn’t exist. It was through my conversations with the VP that I was able to create this opportunity. When you leave a job, you take the skills you developed. Offer those skills back to your company or even their competitors and become an independent contractor or a consultant.

            The perfect freelance job for you may not currently exist. Explore this option and see if you can create your own perfect opportunity that allows you to keep the money coming in and pursue your comedy career.

These are only a few ideas. There are many, many more out there. The point is, though, if you are a freelancer you may need to look for money outside of the normal job opportunities. Don’t be afraid to try something different. The goal is to have an income that allows you to pursue your comedy writing or performing career.

Our next article in this series will be on passive income.

Half Today; Half Tomorrow

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I had lunch one day with one of the writers from The Carol Burnett Show. She said, “I learned so much from your dad, but for the longest time, I thought he was crazy.” She went on to explain, as if an explanation was necessary, that while working on The Carol Burnett Show, Dad was busy doing other things.

“Whenever we asked your dad if he wanted to go to lunch with us, he would say, ‘I can’t. I’m working on a speech for the local Kiwanis Club…or writing a book…or working on some magazine article for $50.’ Here we were working on the highest rated show, winning all kinds of awards, making pretty good money and your dad was writing a speech for a group of businessmen. I thought he was crazy.” She said he always encouraged her and her partner to do these things. “Why would we want to? We were award-winning writers. We didn’t need anything else. Until we were no longer on the air and the jobs weren’t so easy to come by.” She said that while she was looking for work, Dad was on a book tour with his second book and had contracts for more. He had become a well-respected humor speaker and was traveling the country giving talks for thousands of dollars. She realized that while she and the other writers were living in the present, Dad had been preparing for the future. And when the future came, which it tends to do whether we’re ready or not, Dad was prepared.

This story reminded me of a little bit of advice that I received when I ventured out into the freelance world. I was having a discussion with someone about my decision. They said, “That’s great, just remember to work half for today and half for tomorrow.”

            He went on to say that no matter how much time you’re going to invest into this area, whether it’s two hours a day or eight, be sure to divide it in half. Spend half of that time working on your assignments for now. Spend the other half making sure you have assignments for tomorrow.

Basically, this is what Gene was doing in the first story, whether he knew it or not. He wasn’t resting on his laurels but was laying the groundwork for future work. No matter what you are working on today, things could change tomorrow and if you’re not prepare, you could be in trouble.

            So what does that mean to you? It means, if you are a comedian, and you’re working on new material and developing your act, that’s great, but also spend some time getting bookings six, seven months down the line. If you’re a writer working on the contacts you have today, great, but spend some time making new contacts and generating more contracts for later.

Let’s say you spend four hours a day working on your comedy.

Spend two of those hours on what’s happening right now, and spend the other two working on the future…whatever it may be. If you want to write sitcoms, start writing your spec scripts now. If you want to get booked in the LA clubs, start the groundwork now. Try this for a bit and see how quickly things start happening.